Black Beans During Pregnancy: Safety and Benefits Explained

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Black beans are a popular ingredient in stews, soups, burritos, and more. Therefore, you may be wondering if you can safely consume black beans while you are pregnant.

Overall, black beans are safe during pregnancy. They are rich in dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and more which can promote a healthy pregnancy. 

This article will discuss more about the safety and preparation of black beans, their benefits, and black bean tea when pregnant.

Are Black Beans Safe to Eat When Pregnant? 

Whether fresh, dried, or canned, black beans are safe for you during your pregnancy. These versatile beans can be soaked and cooked from dried beans or simply heated from canned beans. 

However, when selecting canned beans, avoid bloated or significantly dented cans. A deep dent can have a sharp point that can puncture the can and allow bacteria inside (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]).

black bean soup in a white bowl

Additionally, a bloated can may also indicate spoilage as well (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]). 

Are Black Beans Good for Pregnancy? The Benefits

Black beans are rich in dietary fiber, protein, folate, and more (source: USDA). Fiber is essential for healthy bowel movements, digestion, blood sugar control, and more (source: Mayo Clinic). 

Additionally, it is recommended to consume 75 to 100 grams of protein each day while pregnant (source: American Pregnancy Association).

A serving of 100 grams of black beans, which is about two-thirds of a cup, contains about nine grams on its own (source: USDA). Impressive! Therefore, black beans can be a great source of plant-based protein to add to your diet. 

black beans with corn tortilla in blue bowl

It is important to note that canned black beans can be extremely high in sodium. Sodium is often used as a flavoring as well as a preservative in canning.

Therefore, if you are using canned black beans, make sure they are low in sodium or labeled as “No Salt Added.” A good tip is to rinse the black beans under clean running water to remove some salt as well. 

Folate, or folic acid, is an essential nutrient that is so important during pregnancy that it is recommended to consume it daily if you are simply of reproductive age (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]). Folate is needed to reduce the risk of congenital abnormalities in the developing baby, such as spina bifida or anencephaly. 

Black Bean Dishes and Drinks When Pregnant

Black bean is used in foods from many different cuisines, such as Mexican and Asian dishes. When consuming black beans on salads, the primary consideration is that the vegetables and fruits in the salad are thoroughly washed under clean running water (source: FDA).

Additionally, make sure to avoid cross-contamination between cooked black beans and uncooked or undercooked meat, eggs, poultry, or fish. Black bean dips are safe as well as long as they are appropriately stored in the refrigerator. 

sliced burrito with black beans

In Asian cuisine, black bean sauce is very popular in many dishes. While safe, this sauce is often very high in sodium and, therefore, should be consumed in moderation.

Can I Drink Black Bean Tea When Pregnant? 

Another popular black bean product is black soybean tea which is also known as Kuromamecha. Since this is not an herbal tea and instead is made from black soybeans, it is likely safe for pregnant women.

However, the caffeine content should be noted based on the specific brand and variety of the tea you are consuming. Limit your caffeine consumption to no more than 200 milligrams per day (source: American Pregnancy Association). 

Also, be sure to check the ingredients to make sure there are not any potentially unsafe herbs or spices added to the tea. 

I hope you found this article helpful in discussing the safety and benefits of black beans during pregnancy.